Well, what’d you expect?
Spurs lose 136-100 to the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of their Western Conference Finals and it wasn’t even that close.
The Warriors are oversaturated with all-stars, they’ve won the Western Conference two straight seasons and they were the heavy favorites coming in to the series after winning 67 games this year.
The Spurs didn’t have much of a chance in Game Two without Kawhi Leonard and it was obvious from the start the team felt the apathy.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made this sentiment the thesis of his postgame press conference, “I think we felt it too much, Kawhi being gone. In a sense I don’t think they believed. You have to believe. I don’t think as a group they did.”
There are two takeaways from Tuesday night’s game. It’s obvious the Spurs got caught in the middle of an avalanche and there was nothing they could do get themselves out of it. But, LaMarcus Aldridge is paid like a star player, he’s been an All-Star performer throughout his career and with Kawhi Leonard out, the Spurs needed LaMarcus Aldridge to be at his best…and he was not. Aldridge scored only 8 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
Both of those things can be true. The Spurs didn’t lose this game because LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t show up. They lost it because they got caught in the middle of a storm and could do nothing to stop it. But that doesn’t excuse the team’s most important performer underperforming to such an alarming degree. If you can’t be critical of Aldridge after Game Two when can you be critical of him?
“LaMarcus has got to score for us,” Pop told the media after the game. “He can’t be timid. He turned down shots in the first quarter. He can’t do it. He’s got to score.”
In the last five quarters for the Spurs, all played without Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge has shot 6 of 18. That’s the reason the Spurs find themselves down 0-2 in this series.
Beyond LaMarcus Aldridge’s lifeless performance many were critical of the Spurs lack of energy. When you start a game 2/10 or 2/12 shooting and your opposition is raining threes you aren’t going to have energy. Missed shots beget poor energy. They weren’t showing energy because they were completely demoralized from the start.
Now the Spurs are faced with reality. Can they win 4 of 5 against this team?
“We need to get slapped and come back and play Game Three and see who we are,” said Pop.
That’s a quote about more than winning and losing.
Anyone who thinks there won’t be massive change this offseason should heed this Pop quote.
You can learn a lot about a person by how they react to adversity. This will be at the forefront of Pop’s mind going into Game Three. Who are the guys that are going to go down fighting?
We’ll find out as the series shifts to San Antonio for Game Three Saturday evening.
Make sure to join ESPN San Antonio’s Ari Temkin live after Game Three from the AT&T Center.